Sydney Roosters star Mitchell Pearce has been suspended for the first eight weeks of the 2016 NRL season and fined $125,000 for his Australia Day antics.
Pearce was filmed at night at a woman’s apartment, drunk and pretending to have sex with a dog. The video caused outrage among fans and media alike when it was posted on social media.
The NRL had called for a 10- to 12-week ban but intense negotiations with Roosters management including chairman Nick Politis and the club’s CEO, John Lee, resulted in a shorter ban and the fine. Part of the fine, $50,000, was suspended.
The Roosters had argued that the now sacked co-captain’s behaviour did not warrant a massive penalty. Even so, the fine is the heaviest ever levied on an Australian Rugby League player.
Mitchell has recently returned from a trip to Thailand where he spent a month in rehabilitation. He will be allowed to train with the Roosters squad from Monday and his first game back is expected to be in Round 9 of the season. CEO Lee, however, has warned that Pearce’s return depends on him staying on the wagon and behaving himself. – James Wardell
Screengrab from the video that went viral on social media shows Mitch Pearce, apparently drunk and out of control, after an Australia Day cruise.